49th Faculty Senate

49th Faculty Senate
February 12, 2015 – 3:30 PM
Robert C. Voight Faculty Senate Chambers – 325 Graff Main Hall
Vol. 49, No. 10
Roll Call
a. Present: M. Allen, J. Anderson, C. Angell, L. Caya, G. Cravins, M. Current, T. DocanMorgan, N. Eschenbaum, R. Fowler, T. Gendreau, D. Hart, K. Hunt, T. King-Heiden, J.
Kirsch, W. Maas, R. McKelley, M. Rott, B. Seebach, J. Shanks, K. Terpstra
b. Excused: K. Beyer, P. Haried, S. Kelly, B. Shrestha
Minutes of January 29 approved
a. Chancellor (Joe Gow):
i. Chancellor Gow provided the Faculty Senate with a narrative of the State
government-related events that have occurred since the meeting of January 29,
including updates about pertinent discussions that are being held at UW-L. He
noted that, although the dollar amount of the cuts currently being reported by the
media is $150 million per year, several factors would likely raise that amount.
CFO Hetzel indicated that the $150 million does not include unfunded
fringe benefit costs and municipal services, and that they are actually
planning for cuts between $150-$180 million per year.
CFO Hetzel also stated that our share of System cuts in the past has been
4.32%. This could equate to a $6.3-$7.2 million decrease for UW-L,
depending on the final amount of the cuts.
ii. It was noted that raising out-of-state and graduate tuition could offset some of
these cuts, but that is not a good solution. The administration is planning for a
major reduction in monies. Although they will do what they can, it seems to be
unavoidable that the University will get smaller.
Provost Macpherson addressed the possibility of increasing revenues by
admitting more students. She pointed out that, while more students create
additional revenue for the University, an increase in enrollments comes
with an increased need for resources. She cited examples from Murphy
Library, the current number of students in triple housing (overflow), and
the Tutoring Center in describing the effects of admitting even 50 more
students to UW-L.
iii. Chancellor Gow ended his report by noting that, even with the difficulties that
had just been discussed, the return on investment of a college education is still
quite good.
Question: Direct communication with families of students: It was noted
that other System institutions are sending letters to the families of
students describing possible impacts of the proposed budget cuts, and
Chancellor Gow was asked if UW-L had plans to do something similar.
He indicated that we don't necessarily want to be that alarmist. The
administration is trying very hard to manage cuts without layoffs, but
will probably have to use that as a strategy eventually.
It was further noted that in the past, when cuts have been
absorbed, the University's ability to do so has been used as
supposed evidence of inefficiency. Chancellor Gow was asked
when the cuts were going to begin to have a noticeable effect on
people other than faculty and staff. He responded by indicating
that he thought the effects of these cuts would be more
Question: Discussion of closing a System campus: It was asked if
System had any plans to close one or more campuses in response to the
budget cuts. Although System has looked at the numbers associated with
such actions, it is a very unlikely measure.
b. Provost (Heidi Macpherson):
i. UW-L was well represented by a team of students at a recent American
Marketing Association Conference.
ii. UW-L's request for Designation as an Eligible Institution under Title III and Title
V programs of the Higher Education Act was approved by the U.S. Department
of Education. This designation allows UW-L to apply for any Title III and Title
V programs.
iii. Provost Macpherson noted that there were already more than 300 nominations
submitted to her office for this year's Provost's Teaching Awards.
iv. UW-L will host the 4th Biennial Symposium of the International Society for
River Science (ISRS) in August. As an indicator of the scope of this Symposium,
Provost Macpherson noted that its previous meeting site was in Beijing, China.
v. UW-L will be participating in a Global Summit with Gundersen Health System
in the fall of 2015.
vi. The spring enrollment number is 9703, which is up slightly over this time last
vii. Provost Macpherson urged everyone present to take part in the open forums for
each of the three administrative level searches that are taking place on campus.
She noted that, due to the impact of these positions on campus, good attendance
at the forums was particularly important.
c. CFO (Bob Hetzel):
i. CFO Hetzel opened his report by assuring the Faculty Senate that the
administration will continue to carry out an open and transparent process as they
move forward with the budget.
ii. The Budget Council, which includes representatives from shared governance
groups, college deans, Associate Vice Chancellors, the Chancellor, and the
Provost, will be convened. Their purpose is to vet strategies for Joint Planning
and Budget.
d. Faculty Representative (Georges Cravins):
i. Rep. Cravins reported that he would continue to follow what happens with
Chapter 36 of the State Statutes, and that he would try to promote the need for
faculty governance to the Regents. The Faculty Representatives have a meeting
with Regent President Falbo on March 6, and he will encourage them to focus on
the issue of shared governance at that meeting.
e. Student Senate Liaison (Amy Keel):
i. Rep. Keel reported that the Student Senate took an official stance against
Governor Walker's budget at their meeting on 2/11/15.
ii. UW-L's Student Association has put together a Facebook page that Rep. Keel
encouraged those present to view.
iii. Rep. Keel asked the following questions of the Faculty Senate:
1. Is it appropriate to take classroom time to discuss the budget?
a. The general consensus was that this was not appropriate if it
restricts content or is presented in any kind of a partisan way, but
is acceptable if it is relevant or complimentary to the course
2. Have the faculty had questions about the budget from the students?
a. It was noted that there seems to be quite a bit of student concern.
Faculty Senate Chair (Bradley Seebach):
i. There will be a Legislative Open Forum from 3:00-4:00 PM on Friday, 2/13/15
in the Ward Room of Cartwright Center. Everyone is welcome to attend.
ii. Chair Seebach will be sharing a resolution with faculty governance leaders on
other UW-System campuses that requests the Board of Regents consider and
formulate policy now regarding the replacement for Chapter 36, rather than
waiting for the State Legislature to act. This resolution is designed to
communicate to the Regents that, as a large group, we need to know that tenure
and shared governance are policies that will be continued in the UW-System.
iii. Chair Seebach encouraged people to fill out nomination forms for Faculty Senate
seats that will be opening at the end of this semester.
Joint Promotion Committee:
a. Confirmation of Tim McAndrews (pro tempore replacement by SEC in December).
i. This motion from SEC was approved, M/S/P.
b. PTS approval of recommendation that the Director of the School of Education
permanently serve as a voting member of the Joint Promotion Committee.
i. It was noted that this recommendation requires that the SoE director be someone
who is promotable to the full professor level.
ii. Question: What does adding the SoE director do to the numbers of faculty versus
the number of administrators on JPC: This addition would return these numbers
back to where they were when UW-L had four colleges instead of three.
iii. Question: Does a change like this require multiple readings for passage: This
change would require modification of the Faculty Senate bylaws, and as such
would require multiple readings at Faculty Senate meetings. If approved, this
would count as the first reading.
iv. The motion was approved, M/S/P.
Discussion of UW System Policy and Title IX Compliance (Heidi Macpherson for Nizam
Arain, Affirmative Action Director):
a. Provost Macpherson stated that this request came from the UW-System Provost as a
means of bringing UW-System into compliance with federal policy. Each of the
governance groups on the UW-L campus have been asked to review the proposed edits
and to report back to the Provost's office. The edits primarily relate to legal definitions
and burdens of proof. UW-System has requested a response by 3/6/15.
i. General discussion of these documents ensued. It was noted that if we did not
adopt these measures that we would be non-compliant; the roles of the court
system, the police force, and the campus police were discussed; and many points
of clarification regarding the proposed changes were addressed.
ii. Written comments regarding the proposed edits to this policy should be directed
to Chair Seebach (via email at senate@uwlax.edu), who will collate and forward
them to Provost Macpherson.
APR Committee fixed meeting time: Wednesdays at 3:30 PM:
a. Due to time constraints, this item was moved to a future meeting.
VII. APC Changes to Pre-Authorization Proposal (Melissa Bingham, APC Chair):
a. Chair Bingham explained that this year's Academic Program Committee had been
charged with looking into interdisciplinary programs and examining the barriers these
programs face. The results of their investigation led to a modification to the pre-proposal
for interdisciplinary programs.
b. The modifications were designed to make some requirements less daunting for
interdisciplinary programs; some of the requirements were removed, and others were
c. The motion to accept the new Pre-Authorization Proposal guidelines from APC was
approved, M/S/P.
VIII. Discussion of Faculty Senate written response to 2015-2017 Executive Budget:
a. This document was drafted by the SEC to specifically address three main aspects of the
proposed budget items: the elimination of Chapter 36; the cut to UW-System's budget;
and the transformation of UW-System into a Public Authority. The document opposes all
three changes.
b. Discussion regarding suggested edits and the importance of making such statements
c. The motion to accept this document as a resolution of the UW-L Faculty Senate was
approved, M/S/P.
Old Business:
New Business:
Adjournment at 5:17 PM
Respectfully submitted,
Janet Kirsch
Resolution of the UW-La Crosse Faculty Senate
Adopted by unanimous vote on February 12, 2015
Governor Walker's recent budget proposal, and related documents, contain three main proposals
with respect to the University of Wisconsin System: a budget cut of over $300 million; the elimination
of Chapter 36 of the Wisconsin Statutes and the attendant place of shared governance and tenure
protections in State law; and the replacement of the UW System with a form of public authority. Each
of these changes has the potential to seriously undermine higher education in Wisconsin. As such,
the Faculty Senate of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse (UW-L) strongly opposes them all.
The unprecedented $300 million budget cut will, inevitably, reduce access to highest-quality public
education for Wisconsin families. UW-L is committed to providing our students with the best
education possible. Faculty members will continue to do everything we can to honor that
commitment. However, the mathematics is simple: if State funding shrinks in the way the current
budget envisions, while costs in the wider world continue to rise, it will soon become impossible to
provide education at current levels of quality. Like all other schools in the system, UW-L is faced with
a stark, but unavoidable choice between providing less to students and their families in return for the
money they now spend, or passing along costs that the State will no longer help meet in the form of
future tuition increases.
The elimination of Chapter 36 will diminish both the UW System, and the State of Wisconsin. There
are many things that Wisconsin does better than other states, and the enshrinement of the rights
and responsibilities of faculty in law is one of those things. The UW-L Faculty Senate, and related
bodies at other schools, have long been proud to serve as responsible partners, working in good
faith as stewards of Wisconsin's resources, alongside our administrators and State legislators. The
changes envisioned remove educators from the conversation about how best to deliver quality
education, and will make Wisconsin poorer.
Finally, the proposed transformation of the UW System to a form of public authority is unnecessary,
and is rife with pitfalls and hidden costs. Early analysis suggests that it may increase administrative
costs rather than produce savings. For example, unfunded costs for municipal services and
employee fringe benefits may increase the financial impact of proposed cuts by another 20%. Such
a complex transformation threatens to diminish a system of which all Wisconsin citizens can
currently be proud. Far from being broken, and in need of drastic change, the UW System is a strong
one, and provides impressive results in bad times and in good. Radically altering a system that has
worked so well for so long is less likely to improve it, and more likely to diminish it.
In short, the UW-L Faculty Senate most certainly disagrees with each of the proposed
changes to the University System, and we express our strong opposition to these changes.
We will, of course, always strive to provide the best education in the world to our students and their
families. The current budget, however, threatens this mission, by denying Wisconsin citizens access
to a properly funded and effective higher education system, run in partnership with engaged and
passionate faculty.